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Hobbs, Brockunier & Co. Glass

Additions to the book

Page 29, People: "John Dornan, who for many years was superintendent of the Riverside Glass Works, was in New York this week, just home from Europe, where he had been to visit his birthplace in Ireland. He came to American about fifty years ago, when he was a lad of fourteen. He obtained employment in a glass house in South Boston, Mass., with Patrick F. Slain in 1852. He remained there till 1865, when he went to St. Louis. After a few months he went to Wheeling with Hobbs, Brockunier & Co., and left them to go with the La Belle, now the Crystal, in 1871. In 1879, when the Riverside was built at Wellsburg, he took the position of manager, and remained until April 1 of this year. When he resigned the employees gave him a handsome gold watch and chain. So strong was the instinct to rise when the whistle blew in the morning that he could not overcome it after he was freed from the necessity of work. So he thought he would go abroad. He will go back to Wellsburg, but has no plans for the future." July 11, 1901 C&GJ

Page 59, Dolphin. A bread tray, with a dolphin on each end, 13” long 8 ½” wide had been seen. Also epergnes, with one and four sockets have been seen with the patent note 4/20/75. Salt shakers are also known.

Page 65. The External Ribs bowl on the left has been seen round, tri-corner and with six corners.

Page 71. The Polka Dot chese on the top right sold in 2003 on Ebay for $1226.00.

Page 73. The canoe in this pattern has been found in opal, or milk glass. This piece is not a reproduction, the opal is the same glass as lamp bases were produced in. Other pieces of this pattern may be found in this color, though only experience will prove this out.

Page 81. The lamp shade, (lower left) sold on Ebay in 2002 for $2425.00, the mustard (lower right) for $900.

Page 83, the captions for the two catalog pages are reversed.

Page 84. Pitchers with 20 hobnails in a horizontal row are determined to be made by Phoenix Glass CO. Hobbs Brockunier’s have 25.

Page 100. Shells and Ribs. Additional pieces seen: square basket with no feet, three corner crimped bowl, crimped bowl with two sides folded in, no feet, but with marie.

Page 105 Leighton. Individual cream and sugar have been seen in ruby. An open salt in this line has been seen, also.

Page 112. Eight inch and four inch tri-corner nappies have been reported.

Page 122. No. 336, A ruby tumbler has been found that exactly matches the illustration. The ovals on the pictures are air trap bubbles. (2009) A tankard pitcher has also been found.

Page 124 Flower & Leaf. This basket celery has been seen in emerald green, probably made by U. S. Glass Co. after 1898.

Page 126, Mario. Cake plate seen in Purple Slag, probably made by Northwood when he operated his plant in the old Hobbs factory.

A new pattern has been identified by Hobbs, Brockunier. The following appeared in the first issue of All About Glass.

Oasis Etching by Tom Bredehoft (Reprinted from All About Glass Vol. I No. 1 with permission)

For many years collectors and students of 19th century glass have puzzled over what appeared to be three different etched designs. Goblets showed a standing camel, a reclining camel and many tall palm trees. Compotes showed a camel caravan. These were dubbed Camel Caravan. Creamers have two scenes: one, a horse laden with three barrels, another with a female figure drawing water from a well—both having palm trees. Spoon holders show a horse and rider racing past small buildings. Sugars show another horse and rider. Celeries show an Egyptian with a seated female under a palm tree. The lid to the butter has three pyramids. Some of these pieces were called Tropical Villa, others Oasis. All these puzzling pieces had seemingly related designs, but different motifs. This caused collectors and dealers alike confusion, and it appeared that each was part of a different pattern.

Similar designs on different patterns of glass were another part of the puzzle. Most pieces have a pressed foot, stem and lower part of the bowl in common, while the goblet has a plain foot, a stem with a round knob in the middle and the pressed pattern on the lower part of the goblet bowl, similar to that of other pieces.

The last part of the puzzle was than none of these etched designs could be attributed to a specific manufacturer.

A July 21, 1881 issue of Crockery and Glass Journal sheds considerable light on the above puzzles. To quote in part:

“J. H. Hobbs, Brockunier & Co….Two new designs in etching: one of Egyptian character—are particularly striking. The celery represents an Arab in fez and sash, dismounted from his spirited horse, talking to a maiden seated under a palm by the ruins of an old temple. The water pitcher represents the drawing of water from the well, with a female beautiful and graceful enough to be ‘Rebecca,’ with a jar on her head and a camel laden for its desert journey. The bowl represents boating scenes on the Nile….”

"Cream pitcher"

With this trade quote, the puzzle of who made Camel Caravan (and all the other named patterns) is put to rest. The descriptions given correspond with the designs found on actual pieces, although some editorial liberties are taken describing some of the people. Now that the etching has been identified, the glass on which it appears can also be credited to Hobbs, Brockunier of Wheeling, WV. The unique pressed stem and foot of many pieces can now identify undecorated pieces as being made by Hobbs, Brockunier.

Rather than have three different names for the same pattern (and maybe more!), it seems that Oasis is the best choice, describing the designs found on most of the pieces. Camel Caravan and Tropical Villa should be abandoned in favor of Oasis.

During this period several companies made patterns, either etched or pressed, in which only a few motifs were consistent in all pieces of the pattern. Hobbs, Brockunier & Co. made a similarly styled pattern in 1880 called Flamingo Habitat. In this pattern, too, the etched designs vary from piece to piece, causing several to be considered parts of different patterns. No. 77 pattern was used for most pieces of Flamingo Habitat.

Both Flamingo Habitat and Oasis were etched designs done by exposing the glass to fumes of hydrofluoric acid rather than the later process of immersing the glass into the acid itself. Therefore, the Oasis and Flamingo Habitat pieces are etched only slightly, leaving a smooth surface, while later plate etched glass has a much more deep effect which is somewhat rough to the touch.

Oasis is known in forms indicating a complete table service. Items known are:

Table Set:

Covered butter, Cream, Spoon, Sugar, Compote 7"(across), Compote, large, Goblet, Pitcher 3 pint (blown), Tumbler (pressed), Pitcher 2 quart (blown), Celery, Berry bowl large and Berry bowl small


Bredehoft, Tom and Neila, Hobbs, Brockunier & Co. Glass, Collector Books, 1997

Kamm, Minnie Watson, An Eighth Pattern Glass Book, Privately Published, 1954, 1970

Metz, Alice Hulett, Much More Early American Pattern Glass (Book II), Collector Books, 1978

Mordock, John B. American and Canadian Early Etched Goblets, Collector Books, 1985, 1991

Unitt, Doris and Peter, American and Canadian Goblets, For the Love of Glass Publishing, Inc., 1971, 1994

Welker, John & Elizabeth, Pressed Glass in America, Antique Acres Press, 1985